Currency
You are here: REDWOLF > Home

Review

Tokyo Marui AK47 / AK47S / RedWolf Dragunov SVD
  • Manufacturer 
     Tokyo Marui / RedWolf Custom
  • Model 
     AK47 / AK47S / Dragunov SVD
  • Capacity 
     68 (Std) / 600 (Hicap)
  • Weight 
     2900 / 2800 / 3700
  • Power 
     285
  • Motor 
     EG700
  • Hop-up 
     Adjustable
  • Battery 
     Large / Small / External
  • Shooting Mode 
     Semi, Full Auto
  • Construction 
     ABS Plastic, Wood, Metal

Pros

+ Silky smooth "high
potential" gearbox
+ High accuracy right out of
the box
+ Rigid and flex-free body
+ Large capacity high cap
magazine (600)
+ Lots of metal adds to
authentic feel
 

Cons

- Lacks expandability for
add-on options
- Subjective styling
- Complete take-down to
gearbox level is more
complicated than other AEGs
 

Verdict

A classic in its own right. May not necessarily make it on the list of first time airsoft buyers due to the lack of rails to add on all sorts of accessories, but is one that is noticed by seasoned airsoft players who learn to like its style.

 

The AK47 and it's sniper cousin; SVD
(Snayperskaya Vintovka Dragunova)

The SVD rifle, or otherwise simply known as the Dragonuv, was developed in response to Soviet need for an auto-loading sniper rifle in the 1950s. While many designers at the time worked to develop such a rifle, the most promising work undertaken was by Evgeniy Fedorovich Dragunov (1920-1991), the father of the SVD rifle. Evgeniy Fedorovich Dragunov (1920-1991) was born in Izhevsk into a family of hereditary gunsmiths. His grandfather used to work in the Izhevsk Arms Factory. In 1934, having finished secondary school, he entered in the Industrial Technical School; on graduation, he commenced work in a factory. Young Dragunov was offered a job in the same factory where his grandfather had worked in Czarist times. His first project was to improve the machining technique the bayonet of the Mosin - Nagant rifle, model of 1891/30. Dragunov was drafted in 1939 into the Soviet Army and sent to school for junior commanders and worked until 1945 as a senior foreman gunsmith. With the outbreak of the Great Patriotic War in 1941, he was promoted to the rank of a senior armorer, which gave him priceless experience with both Russian and enemy automatic weapons.

Mikhail Timofeevich Kalashnikov - Father of AK47 The Dragunov was the first Russian rifle exclusively designed from scratch as a sniper rifle, and was created to replace the SVT-40 (Samozariyadnaya Vintovka Tokareva) sniper rifle. Evgeniy Dragunov was a colleague of Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov, designer of the original AK-47 Kalashnikovs.

At first glance, the Dragunov resembles a stretched-version of the standard AK. The Dragunov shares the AK style safety-bolt cover combination, the gas-tube over the barrel, and a similar operating mechanism. Internally however, differences in the cartridge used required different designs. As a result, internal parts are not interchangeable between the AK and the SVD, contrary to what many might have believed. In fact, apart from the initial appearance, there are limited similarities between the two rifles.

Our SVD Dragunov rifle is based on Tokyo Maruis AK47 Automatic Electric Weapon. Given their external similarities, modification from the stock AK47 into the Dragunov was possible through the modification of several key components. Lets first look at the AK47 itself, and then move onto the modifications required to give us the Dragunov.

Mikhail Timofeevich Kalashnikov invented the AK47. Born on November 10, 1919, in the village of Kurya, Altai Territory, to a large peasant family, Kalashnikov developed his first rifle that would evolve into the modern day AK47 in 1941, after joining the Red Army as a battle tank commander. Incidentally, Kalashnikov also invented many other military apparatus that was put to use by the Red Army. Through numerous refinements and stringent testing, the final version of the AK47 was completed in 1947; hence the 47 designation. The rifle was adopted into the Soviet Army in 1949. Today there are well over 70 million AK47s world-wide. It is unarguably one of the most widely used and popular rifle world-wide, with some countries even adopting it as part of their state emblems. Many manufacturers from all over the world have copied the original design and made their own modifications. Interestingly enough, the design was never patented. The Dragunov was formally adopted by the Russian Red Army in 1963.

Full metal front barrel assembly adds to realism
Front sight is range adjustable
Hop-up adjustable

The Classic AK47
Tokyo Marui makes two versions of the AK47; the solid stock AK47 and the metal folding stock version, denoted the AK47-S. The latter gives the rifle a much smaller footprint, though at the cost of being able to take a smaller stick type battery in the spine of the receiver. The solid stock model accommodates a large size battery in the hollow stock, which gives you the option to internally store battery size of up to 8.4V 3000mah if required. Access to this battery compartment is through the butt-stock, which opens up to easily slide the battery in and out. As such, the solid stock model is much better suited for those planning for power upgrades, which require the larger and more powerful batteries.

On first glance, Maruis AK47 is quite authentic and the fake wooden fore-grip and stock look convincingly real. These parts are actually moulded plastic that have very realistic grain on them. The plastic is also sufficiently high quality so as not to feel, well, plastic.

The gun is also quite heavy due to the significant amount of metal used. In fact, the entire front section forward of the fore-grip is comprised entirely of metal. Parts include the barrel, the front sights, cleaning rod, and the fluted barrel support. The metal has enough steel content in it allowing the barrel to rust a bit if left unmaintained, which adds to even greater authenticity. The front sight is vertically adjustable using a tool. The AK47 does not have a flash-hider and has something that resembles a thread protector, which screws on over the 14mm counter-clockwise threaded barrel. Attaching silencers and flash-hiders is therefore as easy as a "twist of a wrist". The fake cleaning rod that sits below the barrel is not full length and cannot actually be used. It can however, be detached for authenticity's sake.

The receiver itself is plastic, but the upper spine of the receiver (which is removable to reveal the battery compartment for the AK47-S) is made of metal. On full stock models, there is a metal tube that Marui placed inside this compartment to keep the upper receiver spine cover in place. Pivoted metal sling mounts are located on the left side of the receiver as well as on the front of the gun. You will also notice a delicately crafted range adjustable front sight, also made of metal. The firing selector is also made of metal and is located on the right side of the gun. Contrary to the design of other modern day machine guns, the positions of full-auto fire and semi-auto fire are reversed; the lever has three positions the top is for Safe, the middle position is for Full-Auto, and the lowest position is for Semi-Auto. The movement of the lever is quite tactile and solid thanks to little grooves cut into the receiver, and the long travel between modes eliminates the chances of selecting the wrong mode in the heat of battle. New gun owners will notice though that the movement of the lever actually carves (or scratches) the receiver of the gun as it moves up and down. This is not a problem as these scratches can be observed on real steel AKs as well.

The bolt cover is also made of matte silver metal and is solidly built to pull back and forth with a firm feel. For those who enjoy maverick style loading (pulling back the bolt and letting go to allow the bolt to fly forward), you will be rewarded by a confidence-inspiring "clank". The hop-up adjuster is also located inside the bolt in the form of a small lever. Moving this small lever rear-ward (difficult for those with not-so-slender fingers) will increase hop-up. The trigger is also metal.

The magazine release mechanism is also made of metal and can be easily disengaged with your thumb. The long metal magazine that comes stock with the gun can house 68 rounds, while an optional hi-capacity magazine can house 600 rounds - the largest capacity Marui magazine in the entire line of their AEGs (excluding aftermarket drum magazines that you can get for literally all model AEGs). Insertion of the magazine into the gun requires that you hook the front side of the magazine into the receiver first, and then pivot the magazine into the gun until it is locked into place by the magazine latch just like the real thing.

Battery compartment for AK47S
Metal selector switch
Real wood stocks (installed) with stock plastic stocks on side

On picking up the AK47, you will notice how solidly built it is with literally no wobble as found in some of the M16 series guns. It is also one of the heavier AEGs from Marui, weighing in over 3 kilograms. The AK47-S, with its full metal folding stock, feels even heavier (though the scale clocks the two models at approximately the same). The folding stock can fold forward and around the pistol grip completely to rest against the belly of the gun, making the AK47-S extremely compact. Wildgoose has an old AK47-S where the metal stock has chipped and rusted over the years, adding significantly to its realism.

AK47 used by Charlie Sheen in the movie Navy Seals, 1990 Orion Pictures The Type III gearbox is extremely well built, with the highest precision and tolerance out of all the gearboxes. The result is extremely effective use of air, and much less resistance in its operation which translates to greater willingness to cycle during full-auto fire. Drawing a comparison to automobiles, the AK gearbox can be described as the Lexus of all gearboxes - smooth, quiet, and willing to rev like butter. It is this precision that lends the AK to such high FPS potential. Our experience has shown that an M130 installed in an AK47 will almost match the power of an M140 installed in a G3 or MP5 (given similar barrel lengths). However that benefit does not seem to translate beyond M150, where performance of the AK gearbox seems on par with any other AEG. However the lower spring rate means that there is less need for a powerful battery to give you the same fire-power (FPS).

Czech soldiers training with the SVD The AK47 series are the most accurate AEGs "out of the box" from Marui. The hop-up mechanism is precise and easily allows you to adjust your shots into straight projectiles. While we were not able to perform precise target testing for this review, we did perform a simple "backyard" test where we fielded the stock AK against a stock G3-SG1 at shooting a STOP sign from 50 feet (at an acute angle that made the target area quite small but with no wind). Judging from the "pang" sound that was emitted from each hit, the AK47 nailed the target 9 out of 10 times while the SG1 only achieved 7, demonstrating the long-range effectiveness of this fine AEG.

The high accuracy and the high potential for upgrade are the principle reasons why the AK47 is so attractive for a sniper project.

The Dragunov Variation
The Dragunov is much longer than the AK47 (as a sniper rifle should be). The extra length comes from the much elongated foregrip, and a much longer barrel. The addition of a metal fluted bird-cage style flash and recoil suppressor tops the front end off. The most distinguishing feature of the SVD is the open buttstock, which integrates itself into one piece with the pistol grip. This widened stock frame gives the shooter more flexibility and leverage in firing posture. Unfortunately this open stock also does away with the storage compartment for our battery, which means that an external battery bag is required to power this Dragunov. The stock and foregrips are all made of high-density multiply lacquered wood which are very authentic (the real Dragunov grips are constructed in the same manner). It is also important to note that this SVD pictured here is a replica of the first generation model. Subsequent generations came fitted with cheek-pieces and more holes were cut into the fore-grip (the original version had 3 holes in sequence while later modifications saw 6 holes in staggered layout).

Admittedly, our one failure in this project was the ability to craft an authentic magazine - which on the SVD is a shortened magazine. However, our efforts to splice the Marui AK47 magazine into a shorter version proved difficult since the curvature of the stock AK magazine does not allow for seamless reattachment. As such, for reliability and practicalities sake, we have left the standard AK47 magazine on our SVD.

In our custom piece, we used an original Russian scope that comes standard with the real-steel SVD. Attachment of the scope to the AK47 receiver is no easy task since there are no rails. As such, a custom rail was forged and installed onto the left side, which allowed easy attachment of the Russian scope. For a simpler solution, you can also simply get an AK47 scope mount.

To accommodate for the longer barrel, an extended precision inner barrel was also fitted to create maximum power. As mentioned previously, the AK gearbox is extremely efficient in its use of air and this sniper rifle enjoys 550fps of power following the replacement of stock gearbox parts with an upgraded spring, steel gears and shuttle, bushings and O-rings, nozzle, and more. The result is devastating power that makes this SVD truly a "sniper rifle" in the airsoft realm.

The Dragunov is based on the AK47
High quality SVD wood grips
The Dragunov is an efficient sniper system

Other Options
If you don't want to go all-out with the Dragunov option, the AK47 still offers opportunities for upgrades and customizations. The biggest limitation for the AK is the lack of a scope rail to allow attachments. Without resorting to drilling and hammering, you can opt for a scope mount that attaches to the standard range-adjustable sight. For real steel gun buffs, you can experiment with real-steel replacement parts as well but take heed the dimensions of the Marui AK do not precisely match those of the real steel. This means that attempts to replace the Marui upper receiver spine cover with an original rail-integrated part may not work (the TM AKs receiver is actually slightly longer than the real steel). One idea is to buy a RIS rail and then drill holes yourself into the upper receiver cover, and bolt the rail on directly. Care must be taken when doing this to ensure the rail is mounted on level otherwise you end up with a lop-sided scope.

Most others in the field also opt for black stocks, which is easy enough with a can of spray-paint. You can buy "textured" spray-paint that leaves a sort of gritty and rough finish, giving your stock more of a "polymer composite" look. Others opt for real-wood stocks (as pictured in the photos above) you can either install replica wood-stocks made for the TM AK (which have a hollowed out butt-stock to accommodate a battery) or attach real AK wood stocks (but this will take some wood-crafting since you will need to hollow out the pistol grip to accommodate the motor, and also the butt-stock for the battery. Do not take this option unless you know what you are doing.
According to one of our readers who wrote in with additional information: "...you can buy the scope mount rail (real steel part) that will fit all the PSO scopes from a company in Las Vegas in the US, called K-Var corp. They can be located on the internet, and carry the real steel parts for all AKs that will fit nicely on the airsoft counterparts."

Increasing the rate of fire is simple on full-stock models simply run on a higher amperage battery. Running a stock AK47 on an 8.4v 2000mah battery will give extremely high ROF (around 15 rounds per second a true bullet hose).

Of course, if these options still seem too mundane, other full modifications are also possible: take a look at the Galil created on the AK47 platform by our US partner The Q Project.

A rail drilled into the receiver accommodates the Russian scope
Bird-cage flash hider
A real Russian scope adds loads of realism

Beautifully crafted scope is the real thing
Hold that sun with this glare shield
Contoured grip for steadier hold

Overall Impressions
Overall, the AK47 is one of the best AEGs made by Tokyo Marui. Its accuracy is second to none in stock form, and its rigid structure demonstrates no flex nor wobble. The gearbox is top-notch and allows high power upgrades, and runs as "smooth as a Lexus".


Do you have something to share?
Discuss and provide additions to this review in our forum